President-elect Donald Trump may have campaigned to "drain the swamp" in Washington, but he is seeking to raise tens of millions from those he pilloried to pay for festivities surrounding his swearing-in.
According to fundraising solicitations, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is organizing celebrations around the Jan. 20 event, including the official inaugural balls, is pitching "underwriters" on packages between $25,000 to more than $1 million that provide exclusive access to the President-elect, the Vice President-elect and members of his future Administration.
The lowest-tier package includes a slot a "select" Washington, D.C., hotel for the inauguration weekend, tickets to the inaugural ball, the swearing-in, the inaugural parade and an "entertainment-filled welcome reception."
Other packages include access to a a "Leadership Luncheon," an "exclusive event with select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership," tickets to an "intimate dinner with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Mrs. Karen Pence," a "Ladies Luncheon" to meet the women of the Trump and Pence families and a candlelight dinner with the First and Second families. The top-tier $1,000,000+ package includes "priority booking at premier Inaugural hotel," along with VIP access to the other events.
The inaugural committee will shuttle its donors between its official events and their hotels, according to the materials. But despite the high-dollar contributions, donors will still be required to pay for their hotel rooms. "Rooms will be at your own expense, require a four-night minimum stay, and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis," the fundraising ask states.
The fundraising requests mark a slide away from the standard set in 2009 by then President-elect Barack Obama, who banned corporate and lobbyist donations and limited individual contributions to $50,000. By 2013, Obama reversed himself, allowing corporate donations and lifting the cap on individual donors. Trump, like Obama, will maintain his ban on lobbyist contributions, in addition to the statutory ban on foreign personal and corporate donations.
Trump has tapped billionaire friend and donor Tom Barrack to serve as the chair of the committee, while longtime Republican National Committee official Sara Armstrong is set to serve as its CEO. Plans for the weekend include a concert and fireworks display along the National Mall.